New Tehachapi hospital to bring new departments, jobs

Officials spent years fighting for hospital

TEHACHAPI, Calif. - After years of legal hurdles, Tehachapi finally broke ground on its new hospital today.

It was a party-like atmosphere in Tehachapi today as officials broke ground on a brand new hospital.

"We are ecstatic. I can't tell you how excited I am," said one attendee.

The current hospital that sits in the center of town is the one that was built after the '52 quake.

It's long past is service life and can only offer limited services to patients.

"Right now, we only have medical services and an emergency room," said Alan Burgess of the Tehachapi Healthcare District.  "The new hospital will have surgery obstetrics and an intensive care unit."

Officials had to fight a lot of obstacles to get to this day.

"California is a slow state to build anything in because the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development has to review and approve your plan," said Burgess.  "You spend two or three years with an architect and then spend two more years with state review before you even break ground."

Right now, most people in Tehachapi, have to go somewhere else for hospital services.

"New moms have to go to Lancaster or to Bakersfield to have their baby," said Burgess.

Officials said the new Tehachapi hospital will have a level four trauma center.

"We'll actually be able to do more than stabilize," said Burgess.  "We will be able to keep them as long as they are able to be maintained in a simple ICU."

But there will also be an economic benefit from the new hospital.

"It's an 87 million dollar boost to the economy," said Burgess.  "It means we are gonna hire about 40 more employees to start with and then we will grow the employee base based on the workload."

The hope is the hospital will be finished and ready for patients by the Summer of 2015.

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